Canoe Days Out

Oxfordshire - River Thames and Oxford Canal - Wolvercote to Wolvercote: it's a loop

This page was submitted by Chris Jones
How to get there - From A34 (Oxford western bypass), leave at Peartree interchange (Oxford Services), take A44 south-eastwards. At Wolvercote roundabout, take Godstow Road (signs to Wolvercote). Straight over first roundabout, over canal and rail bridge, follow road round left then right bend, look for entrance to carpark on left near tall pine tree.

For those with satnav the postcode is OX2 8PN

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - Launch near the bridge. If there are people swimming or fishing, it's easy to move boats a little way downstream to launch. On the map, it is the picnic site and public toilets.

General Description - Paddle downstream on the river Thames. It gets quite wide and you may meet rowing-, sailing & motor boats. Keep right to pass under red footbridge. When you see some houses on the left, turn left under the grey footbridge, unless you fancy a beer, in which case keep going for a quarter of a mile to the Waterman's Arms on the right bank, just before Osney Lock, then back upstream to the footbridge. Go under the railway bridge, turn to your left, then look for Isis Lock on the right bank. It is near a black & white iron bridge, number 243. Portage to the canal, get on above the lock & paddle northward on the canal. Portage Wolvercote Lock. Just before the next lock, turn left & under the bridge onto the Duke's Cut and portage yet another lock. At the signpost, turn left onto the mill stream (see comments for alternative route). Look for a weir on your right and get out on the right just before the weir. Scramble down the bank, launch below the weir and it is a short whiz down to the bridge where you started. Total distance about 6 miles.

Some additional photos in the album are courtesy of

Comments on this trip

22 Aug 2015
Just got back from paddling the circuit. It's a nice paddle though quite long. However, we found that the short cut back to the car park at the end is blocked by fallen trees just after the weir and it looked like there may be more further on so the only option is to go via Kings Weir. Many thanks for the rest of the guide though as it helped with navigating the rest and knowing there was an option

16 May 2007
For more info on this paddle and others in Oxford contact me at the Riverside Centre and I will advise as best I can... 01865 248673 or email

28 Aug 2006
If you don't fancy the weir and the "scramble down the bank", continue through Duke's Cut, turn left into the Thames and pass through King's Lock. This is the Thames so the locks are manned and the lock keepers will be happy for you to pass throught the locks. After passing under the by-pass bridge and through Godstow Lock (with the remains of the nunnery on your right), turn left back to the starting point.


The Watermans Arms
Thames Conditions
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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson